Dr Shervan Babamohammadi (a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD on CO2 absorption using Amine-based solvents) and Mr William (Billy) Davies (a first-year PhD student who graduated from Queen Mary University with a chemistry and coding background) are part of Dr Salman Masoudi Soltani’s research group at Brunel University London. They were awarded funding in the UKCCSRC Collaboration Fund Call 4 and used it to collaborate with Dr Peter Clough and his research team at Cranfield University.
We both joined Brunel University in 2022, and our research is focused on process modelling and optimisation of clean hydrogen production via sorption-enhanced steam-methane reforming (SE-SMR) for combined carbon capture and hydrogen production. I (Shervan) work on process synthesis and design, modelling and simulation of blue hydrogen production processes, and I (Billy) focus on applying machine learning to optimise blue hydrogen production.
When we were looking for a research group to collaborate with, we found Dr Peter Clough, a Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University and an academic member of UKCCSRC, whose research is truly relevant to our research. In the articles we read about SE-SMR, one of the authors is usually Dr Peter Clough. I (Shervan) met Dr Clough in person at UKCCSRC Conference in Sheffield in April 2022 for the first time, and it was very enlightening to listen to his talks, research ideas and his vision on CCS and Net-Zero. We were thrilled that he welcomed our proposal to collaborate when we approached him.
Another reason that motivated us was the HyPER project that Dr Clough led at Cranfield University. The HyPER project is an innovative clean hydrogen production technology that aims to demonstrate a lower-cost route for bulk hydrogen production in the UK. The pilot plant is a 1 MW sorption-enhanced steam methane reforming (SE-SMR) system and is part of a programme of Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding amounting to more than £8m in development and expertise. The project provides a unique platform for research centred on low-carbon clean hydrogen production via SE-SMR. It was an excellent opportunity for us to gain first-hand experience in setting up the HyPER pilot plant and get familiar with the real-world challenges of processes that we are modelling and optimising in computer software. Moreover, it brought opportunities for establishing a constructive long-term collaboration between two research groups at Cranfield University and Brunel University, since both work on CCS and Net Zero emission.
Our plan consisted of two visits. The first was for us (Shervan, Billy and our supervisor, Dr Salman Masoudi Soltani) to meet Dr Peter Clough, his team, and colleagues and to visit the HyPER project at Cranfield University. The second visit was for Dr Clough and colleagues to visit Brunel University to present their work on HyPER, Bio-HyPER, and other CCS projects they do, and to finalise our plans for research and collaboration. Our main aim for this collaboration was to establish a foundation for future research projects based on the expertise and facilities available in both institutes, as well as to visit the HyPER project and learn about the challenges and opportunities of pilot plants for research. The visits could also potentially lead us to initiate a research project focused on blue hydrogen or alternative clean fuel for the Net Zero future.
Visiting Cranfield University and the HyPER project, Nov 2022
Cranfield University is a postgraduate research university with a spacious campus occupied with labs, research centres, and embedded businesses. Dr Clough welcomed us before heading to a meeting with his research group, where we introduced ourselves and our research. We met Dr Monica da Silva Santos, a postdoctoral researcher of Dr Clough’s team who works on sorption-enhanced gasification of biomass for hydrogen production. She also spoke about another project on amine emissions which was interesting, especially for me (Shervan) since I worked with amines in my PhD. Her experience in process modelling and experimental work brought us closer for more talks during the day.
We also met Dr Tosin Adedipe, the Technical Project Manager of the HyPER project. Dr Adedipe’s background is offshore energy asset and risk management, and it was not surprising that a big project like HyPER needed a professional project manager. During her talks, we gained very insightful information about the current situation and challenges of the HyPER. It was also a fruitful meeting to formally meet Dr Clough’s PhD students, including Siqi Wang, Ziqi Shen and Serap Ozmen, and learn about their research projects. After this meeting, we visited the lab facilities around carbon capture and hydrogen production. The labs are well equipped and established, especially for synthesising ad/absorbents and testing them for CO2 ad/absorption.
On day 2, we met Dr Ali Nabavi, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy, Cranfield University. His research on developing novel CO2 sorbents was fascinating and we learned a lot about his innovative ideas on adsorbent preparation.
Next, it was time to visit the HyPER project. The HyPER project aims to develop a world-leading pilot plant hydrogen production with integrated carbon capture. The plant is a state-of-the-art SE-SMR plant that will produce high-purity H2 with about a 97% CO2 capture rate when operational. This process will aim to produce H2 at a 50% reduction in the CAPEX and a 25% reduction in the Levelized Cost of Hydrogen compared to conventional blue hydrogen production methods like steam methane reforming with CCS or auto thermal reforming with CCS. This project started in the summer of 2019 in phase one for the feasibility stage, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic put the world in lockdown. The project developed further to phase two, the demonstration phase, by securing £7.4m funding.
At the time of our visit, hard work was going on at the site to assemble all the equipment and make the plant ready to run. The project is conducted in collaboration with Altrad Babcock as the engineering partner and GTI Energy as the technology owner. The project will help to improve the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 4 to 6 based on GTI Energy’s novel Compact Hydrogen Generation (CHG) technology.
On day 3, we had a final meeting to discuss the areas in which two research groups at Cranfield and Brunel University could collaborate. It was a fascinating brainstorming exercise in which many research ideas were discussed and, in the end, wrapped up with a final potential project for future collaboration. This research idea is around clean energy, focused on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). We both learned a lot during our visit to Cranfield University and meetings with Dr Clough and colleagues.
Hosting our collaborator at Brunel University London, Dec 2022
A few weeks later, it was time for us to host Dr Peter Clough and his team, Dr Ali Nabavi and Dr Monica da Silva Santos. We invited academics and colleagues, both from our department and others, to join us as they presented their work on carbon capture and hydrogen production. After the Q&A session, we hosted a networking lunch so that everyone could discuss their work in detail face to face. After lunch, we took our guests on a tour of our department’s facilities before giving them a further tour of the campus and ETC’s facilities. The day ended with a presentation delivered by our research group.
The next day was our final meeting, intended to summarise the outcomes of the visits. Within the meeting, we identified and outlined two main projects for further collaboration. We’re now working on the first steps of both projects.
During the collaboration, we established an excellent foundation for future research, and were able to visit the HyPER project and gain first-hand experience in the engineering, construction and operation of the pilot plant. We also initiated one research project around blue hydrogen production, and another on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production. We were also pleased to host a networking lunch and a seminar for our institution.
These collaboration visits would not have taken place without the support of the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) and their ECR Collaboration Fund Call 4. We are very grateful to the UKCCSRC for giving us this opportunity and thank all UKCCSRC members for their support.
Dr Senyou An (Research Associate at Imperial College London) received funding in the UKCCSRC Collaboration Fund Call 4 to collaborate with Porelab (NTNU+UiO).
First, I would like to express my great thanks to UKCCSRC for jointly supporting my one-month visit to PoreLab (NTNU+UiO). PoreLab is a multidisciplinary institution focusing on the porous media field with excellent researchers from different backgrounds. During my visit, the warm welcome and well-planned schedule made this ECR Collaboration fund more meaningful to me. I appreciated the fruitful discussion and collaboration.
Carbon neutrality is a long-term strategy to save Planet Earth from the imminent danger of catastrophic “global warming”, as highlighted in the Paris Agreement by involved governments. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an effective technique which lets us minimise the carbon footprint of using fossil fuels while reaching this long-term goal. Among available options for CCS, deep saline aquifers have the highest capacity. Rock-fluid interactions play an important role in the carbon fate in geological systems. The geochemical equilibrium of the aquifer is disturbed by injecting CO2, which promotes rock-fluid interactions. These interactions can either improve the rate of carbon sequestration or result in the formation of damage and injectivity decrease in the aquifer, which is usually undermined. Also, one can provide a better estimation of the optimum rate of CO2 injection as well as the capacity of the target aquifer for carbon sequestration by taking the rock-fluid interactions into account.
Upscaling geochemical reactions in complex CO2-water-rock systems is still a challenging problem. Many questions such as determining effective rock reactive surface, upscaled reaction rate and permeability impairment/generation due to precipitation/dissolution and the effect of pore-scale heterogeneity on the process are still open to be addressed. To this end, pore-scale reactive flow and transport modelling play an important role in upscaling local reactions on the rock surface (pore-scale) to the continuum scale to be used in field-scale simulators for CCS. Integrating reactive pore-scale models with the continuum-scale flow provides a unique opportunity to delineate the impact of pore-scale physical and chemical processes on upscaled behaviour to improve the predictive capabilities of field-scale simulators for carbon storage.
During the visit, we carried out the experimental validations and analysis at the core scale in the laboratory (PoreLab). Using available numerical results of my research, we experimentally built pore-scale models to investigate the solute transport, non-Newtonian fluid flow, as well as heat transfer in the heterogenous porous material. Also, several potential projects related to pore-scale hydrodynamics considering geochemical reactions are in the pipeline to be carried out. The results of the validated pore-scale model can be used in different scenarios for upscaling reactive transport. Last but not least, I wish to thank all PoreLab members for their great support.
Trondheim tour with Dr Marcel Moura, Dr Hamidreza Erfani and Dr Omar Brizuela
PoreLab websites: https://porelab.no/
Useful open codes (partially from PoreLab): https://github.com/OPM
My presentation abstract at PoreLab: https://porelab.no/2022/10/06/porelab-lecture-with-dr-dr-senyou-an-on-multi-scale-flow-and-transport-dynamics-in-porous-media/
Published paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2020.127235
Dr Enrique Garcia is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RRCS) at Heriot-Watt University. Enrique received an award from the UKCCSRC ECR Collaboration Fund to travel to the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) in Swansea to optimize the scale-up of MOF production through a green rote synthesis for CO2 capture.
This project is focused on the optimization of the scale-up synthesis of MOFs for CO2 capture through a green route at room temperature and water. Nowadays, MOF synthesis is based on heating at pressures higher than atmospheric during a long period of time (more than one day). When the synthesis is scaled up the MOF properties are lost, and it is needed to identify the optimum synthesis conditions as the volume production increases in a commercially competitive way.
My work was divided into two parts. I carried out the first and main one in Swansea, in collaboration with Enrico Andreoli’s group at the Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI). There, I evaluated the reproducibility of the production of a specific MOF known as MIL-140 at a low scale (150 ml of volume). On this scale, I produced 4 grams of material. Once I probed the synthesis reproducibility, I evaluated the different synthesis conditions and their effect on the material properties trying to identify which ones give the best MOF with the best order structure and the closest CO2 isotherm to the theoretical one. Then, I moved to synthesize the MOF in 4 liters and a half, obtaining more than 120 grams in a short period of time considering the scale-up design of a batch reactor.
I met with external advisors from Italy as MOF synthesis experts to discuss the successful results and some unexpected conclusions.
Finally, I transferred 55 grams of the MOF synthesized at a high scale to Heriot-Watt, where I evaluated the CO2 capture at 400 C and under different CO2 concentrations, comparing the values with the ones obtained with the MOF produced under low-scale conditions and the reference material.
The results obtained and the conclusions reached will be used for further studies and collaboration with a company. Furthermore, Swansea, Pisa and Heriot-Watt Universities are considering patenting the scale-up process. For this reason, no data and can be shared. However, it can be confirmed that an improvement of the scale-up process was found, allowing us to keep the CO2 capture capacities. Even more, it can be indicated that the green route, using tap water instead of deionized water, gives us a perfect MOF structure with a very competitive productivity (almost double the common commercial productivity).
This work will provide measurable improvements in the acceleration of the MOF high scale production in a commercial level. More specifically, individuals and institutions who work in adsorption systems, CO2 capture technologies and MOF production will benefit from the conclusions of this work. This collaboration will help to understand some uncertainties between the synthesis conditions at high scale and the MOF properties. This will improve the next MOF generation production accelerating their use in CCS technologies, which will benefit the CCS community members.
I would thank all my funders – UKCCSRC, RCCS, and ESRI – for making this collaboration possible. My full gratitude to Dr Enrico Andreoli for hosting me in their research group and for their help and great discussions. I also want to thank my line manager, Prof Susana Garcia at Heriot-Watt University, for her guidance and support with my participation in this study.
Catrin Harris, Imperial College London, with CSIRO Australia
When I applied for the UKCCSRC ECR Collaboration Fund in 2019, my initial aim was to visit Australia to collaborate with colleagues in CSIRO. At the end of the collaboration, I have yet to make it Down Under, however, I have met people from all over the world, performed international experiments and collaborated with colleagues from CSIRO, nonetheless.
Before we knew what the Covid-19 pandemic had in store, we started to make plans for a collaboration hosted in Australia. After meeting online for many weeks, we decided to focus on novel experiments for geological carbon storage, made possible through the shared use of equipment, expertise and facilities at Imperial College London (my home university) and CSIRO. For these experiments, we decided to apply for coveted synchrotron time at the Australian National synchrotron (ANSTO). The imaging and medical beamline (IMBL) at ANSTO would allow us to overcome traditional lab resolution constraints and capture, for the first time, the impact of heterogeneity on the dynamics of trapping at the cm-scale, with pore-scale resolution.
When we were awarded the synchrotron time, we knew we had to make the experiments happen despite the Covid-19 travel restrictions. The new plan became that I would set up the experimental rig and run simulations of the experiment here at Imperial College London. We could use our medical CT scanner to capture the average saturations, before conducting the same experiment with pore-scale resolution at the synchrotron. Once everything was up and running, I would then post the equipment to my collaborator at CSIRO in Australia, Dr Sam Jackson, where he and his team would carry out the experiments.
Surprisingly, everything went swimmingly well. Sam and his team put in a sterling effort running two 24-hour experimental campaigns at the Australian synchrotron. The data was then shared with me via the internet and, through many early morning Zoom sessions, we worked together to analyse the data.
There was still chance I would visit Australia but, once the Covid-19 travel restrictions ended, Sam came for his own international visit to Europe, beginning a collaboration at Ghent University in Belgium with Professor Tom Bultreys. The PProGRess (www.pprogress.ugent.be) group at Ghent are well known in the porous media community, both for their excellent research and state-of-the-art facilities. Sam and I decided one set of international experiments in Australia wasn’t enough and proceeded to plan another experimental campaign at Ghent University, using the in-house ‘Hector’ scanning facility to study the impact of large-scale heterogeneity at the pore-scale. This time the experiments would focus on cyclic injection with application to hydrogen storage also.
In October 2022, I visited Ghent University for two weeks to finally take part in our in-person collaboration. It was definitely worth the wait! Not only did I get to collaborate with Sam from CSIRO, but also meet the whole team at Ghent University. Sam and I worked with Sharon Ellman, a PhD student in the PProGRess group, to help prepare and carry out the experiments. It was great to have the opportunity to carry out experiments at another laboratory, to see their kit, imaging set up and post processing tools. I will use the data analysis skills and porous media knowledge in my own PhD work.
We spent many hours together in the lab, successfully carrying out the experiment and capturing the cyclic drainage and imbibition data. The results from these experiments will help to improve the predictability of field scale simulations. Heterogeneity is ubiquitous across storage sites worldwide, including the Otway site in Australia. Therefore, it is necessary to upscale and incorporate adjustments for heterogeneity in models of subsurface storage. I learnt a lot during my time in the lab, but the thing I am most likely to remember was the kindness shown to me by Sam and Sharon during our time together. Both introduced me to their families and hosted me for dinner, making me feel very welcome in Ghent. I hope our friendships and scientific collaborations last far into the future.
Whilst in Belgium, I was able to present my work to the team at Ghent University on two occasions. I presented my data analysis from the Australian synchrotron at both the departmental geology seminar and the broader Ghent University CT group seminar. I gained valuable insight into my work during the question and discussion sessions, which I will use in my future analysis. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to share my work and to exchange ideas with other experts in the field. Also, I attended the Interpore BeNeLux chapter meeting, which was being hosted in Belgium at the same time as my visit. I listened to many interesting talks on geological carbon and hydrogen storage, networked with the porous media community and presented my research poster.
Now that I am back at Imperial College London, the collaborations are still on-going. I am finalising the Australian synchrotron data analysis with Sam, hopefully writing this into a research paper very soon. I have also recently met with the PProGRess research group online to discuss recent work and to brainstorm on new research ideas. I have connected with a unique group of people with very similar research interests to me and know that this will be the start of many future collaborations. I also made many contacts, both at Ghent University and at the BeNeLux Interpore meeting, which I hope will be useful for future research questions and career opportunities.
I am thankful to have met so many wonderful people, to have visited such a beautiful country and to have learnt so much. Many thanks to Tom Bultreys for hosting me, Sharon Ellman for their friendship and laboratory expertise, and to Sam Jackson for everything he has taught me and for his help and support throughout my PhD. Thank you UKCCSRC for funding this collaboration – I am sure it is just the start!
Dr Charithea Charalambous is a research associate in the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) and the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) at Heriot-Watt University. Charithea was awarded with the UKCCSRC ECR Collaboration Fund Award to travel to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim to collect essential vapor-liquid equilibrium data of different amine solutions that are currently lacking in literature.
Here is what Charithea shares about her recent trip to Norway:
What was the aim for your collaboration?
My collaboration aimed to improve the economics and to de-risk large-scale development of Post-combustion Carbon Capture (PCC) processes by providing essential vapor-liquid equilibrium (VLE) data, which is currently lacking, for aqueous solutions of amines. This data is key to developing a rigorous design of water wash systems in amine-based carbon capture technologies aiming to reducing solvent emissions to the atmosphere.
In terms of challenges you hoped to address, why did you choose your particular collaboration partner? What key problems did you hope to overcome prior to the collaboration/research, or ideas you wanted to prove?
This work is a collaboration between the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) at Heriot-Watt University (HWU), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and the independent research organisation SINTEF industry. The experiments were performed using existing equipment at the Department of Chemical Engineering at NTNU and the Department of Process Technology at SINTEF industry. The two research groups have a close collaboration and are working together in several projects. The absorption laboratories at the Department of Chemical Engineering at NTNU are part of the European Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Laboratory Infrastructure. Their team has significant experience measuring vapour-liquid equilibria for CO2 capture and have produced many publications using the VLE-equipment at NTNU and SINTEF industry.
Vapour-liquid equilibria are fundamental properties for the accurate design and simulation of any separation processes. The data is required for process modelling and simulations of nonideal liquid systems, like aqueous amines. However, there is a lack of experimental VLE data at low amine concentrations recorded in the washing sections of the PCC systems. The integration of advanced washing systems, like water wash systems, in amine-based PCC processes can provide a significant reduction in, or even elimination of, amine emissions to the atmosphere. As a consequence, washing systems can reduce the environmental impact and energy requirement of the carbon capture process, making PCC systems economically viable.
Regardless, existing models are used which do not make use of this critical data, leading to inaccurate predictions in the solvent losses to atmosphere, the extent of amine degradation, and consequently the inaccurate performance of the capture plant.
Obtaining these VLE data at very low concentrations of amines requires conditions of low vacuum pressure (especially at low temperatures), which are challenging to measure. A modified Swietoslawski ebulliometer was used to measure the volatility of aqueous amines at low concentrations when CO2 is not present. Analytical methods used vary from simple titration to LC-MS methods to quantify the amines in the liquid and in the gas phase (volatility). NTNU and SINTEF industry provided all required equipment and analytical capabilities.
Any previous research that you were building on (either successful or unsuccessful)? What were your key decision points and how did you approach these decisions? What would happen if no solution to the problem was found?
To make the PCC process economically viable, the energy requirement and environmental impact of the process must be reduced, while maintaining optimal CO2 recovery. The most well-known and broadly used amine in carbon capture systems is monoethanolamine (MEA) due to its low chemical cost, fast reaction rate and high capacity to capture CO2 even at CO2 low partial pressures. However, this solvent is moderately volatile and a significant amount of energy is required to regenerate the CO2 rich solvent in the stripper column. Therefore, interest has recently grown in mixing alkanolamines to reduce energy, solvent losses and solvent degradation.
2-Amino-2-Methyl-1-Propanol (AMP) and Piperazine (Pz) mixtures merge useful properties from both amines. AMP has a higher CO2 loading capacity and can be regenerated at lower temperatures than MEA. Pz, a diamine, effectively promotes rapid formation of carbamates and can theoretically absorb two moles of CO2 per mole of amine. Adding Pz to AMP is reported to be an energy and material saving alternative to conventional MEA-based solvents for the PCC process. The AMP/Pz mixture has been considered as the new benchmark for liquid-based capture systems (e.g. European ERA-ACT project ALIGN-CCUS and the EU project in the 7th framework program CAESAR).
Part of my work in RCCS was to lead the team’s activities on process modelling and experimental work in the ALIGN-CCUS project. The proposed experimental work was a following up study of the ALIGN-CCUS project as the AMP/Pz mixture was used as one of the long-testing solvents in the four European capture pilot plants participating in the ALIGN-CCUS project. These pilot plants were: (i) the pilot plant at Niederaussem (DE), (ii) the capture plant at Technology Centre Mongstad (NOR), (iii) the pilot rig at Tiller (NOR), and (iv) the PACT facilities at Sheffield (UK). This project is also relevant to newly funded ACT projects, such as the LAUNCH and SCOPE projects, which focuses on AMP/Pz degradation and integration of advance amine emission control strategies, respectively. These two projects are following ones from ALIGN-CCUS trying to address the new scientific and technical questions arose towards the completion of that project. A better understanding and prediction of volatile emissions are one of those questions.
The RCCS team, including myself, is also part of the SCOPE project and the obtained data will be valuable for achieving some of the main objectives of SCOPE. Besides, the VLE experimental data will be soon accessible to all the member of the CCS community through a publication. This will hopefully help the CCS community to improve the economic predictions of large-scale PCC systems.
Now, more about those findings: what did you discover? Any outputs you can share?
Although it was challenging to obtain these VLE data at low temperature and pressure ranges, I was able to obtain it for most of the tested solutions. An abstract has been submitted to the GHGT-16 conference and a publication is expected to follow.
Let’s talk about the impact of your results: why was this collaboration the right choice for you and your research? What did the partner institution get out of it?
I trained with specialist NTNU and SINTEF industry researchers on how to use the laboratory apparatuses for the VLE measurements and several techniques / methods to analyse the samples. The Environmental and Reactor Technology group at NTNU and the Department of Process Technology at SINTEF industry offer advanced systems for measuring VLE data and advanced techniques for sampling analysis. I obtained an exclusive knowledge on how to collect accurate VLE data of aqueous solvents from two of the leading laboratories focused on chemical absorption in EU.
I also had access to additional specific expertise, was exposed to a different research environment, gained new perspectives on research and built relationships with the collaborating institution and the research organisation. Both NTNU and SINTEF are leaders in the field of aqueous-based carbon capture technologies, which can be key to my career development in CCS.
Apart from being trained on new tools and obtaining valuable experimental data, I tried to build bridges for future collaboration between the RCCS of Heriot-Watt University and the Environmental and Reactor Technology group at NTNU. Both groups are part of SCOPE and this work will be continue in the next coming years!
How do you think your work will advance CCS research and implementation? Does it have impact for industry?
The UK government has set a target to become the first major economy to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 (2045 for Scotland). Meeting this challenging target will require radical changes including the complete decarbonisation of the energy and the industrial sectors. CCUS is anticipated to have a significant mitigation role especially in the decarbonisation of industrial zones. This work will provide measurable improvements in the environmental performance of PCC plants helping in the acceleration of their development. The work will be significantly important to tailor scale-up and integration of cost-effective amine emissions control systems.
More specifically, individuals and institutions who work on amine-based PCC systems will benefit from access to the missing VLE data at low concentrations of amines, as it will allow them to develop and design more accurate systems. This visit will also help to decrease the uncertainty between real data and the results from process modelling. This will substantially improve the economics of capture systems at large-scale development and accelerate the industrial R&D of CCS. This is expected to benefit all the members of the CCS community by increasing the awareness and confidence for investors and other stakeholders.
Closing up, I would like thank all my funders, UKCCSRC, ALIGN-CCUS project, RCCS, and the absorption labs of NTNU for making this trip possible.
My gratitude goes to Prof Hanna Knuutila and Dr Ardi Hartono of NTNU for hosting me in their research group and patiently guide me through the experiments during this collaboration. I would like to thank all my colleagues at NTNU for our great discussions during lunch and cake breaks, over dinner at a local brewery, in group meetings, corridors, offices and labs.
My gratitude also goes to the members of SINTEF industry that welcome me in their labs and help me with the apparatus and sample analysis.
Last but not least, I thank my line manager and mentor, Prof Susana Garcia at Heriot-Watt University, for providing continuous guidance and supporting my participation to this work.